“When I talk to people about [standing up for myself], it’s not new” — Zendaya Coleman
Zendaya “Woke” Coleman poses for the August cover of ESSENCE, taken in Rio de Janeiro but the real magic isn’t in the gorgeous photo set against a backdrop of clear blue ocean waters. The magic is within the pages where the Disney channel star speaks candidly with the mag about social responsibility, racial injustice and standing up for herself.
“When I talk to people about [standing up for myself], it’s not new,” she said. “It’s not something I just started doing. I Just did it in public, and more people saw it than usual,” she says when asked about that time Giuliana Rancic ignorantly commented on the faux locs she wore to the 2015 Oscars.
Zendaya credits her parents, who both taught in the Oakland school district, for her knowledge of respectability politics.
“With her being my daughter, I want her to feel like he’s empowered by having an opinion on life,” her mother, Claire Stoermer, said. “I don’t want her or any of my children to feel like they have to be a part of the status quo and go along with the tide.”
When asked about being a role model Zendaya says, “You’ve got to realize those Twitter followers, those kids who watch you, that’s technically power. So, to me, I have a responsibility or a duty to the people who watch me to promote positive things, or to show them positive things, or to enlighten them.”
You can read more of Zendaya’s interview here and pick up a copy of ESSENCE on newsstands now.